Thursday, May 11, 2017

This is how you get more Trump: "Duke Prof in Trouble for Calling Diversity Training a Waste"

Duke Prof in Trouble for Calling Diversity Training a Waste:
Frankly, the reported actions of those taking issue with Griffiths' criticisms serve as an ideal case study in how social justice warriors work. First, they push out their ideology in the form of "diversity training," which is really nothing more than SJW propaganda. Then, should anyone dare to criticize it, they try to punish the person for having a dissenting opinion on the topic, up to and including prison if they can get away with it.
If I were Professor Grifith, I'd make 'em take me to trial and I'd publicize the heck out of it. Every. step. of. the.way.

I'd demand an open trial and if that is rejected, I'd publicize that.

The only way to stop this garbage is to call it that.

Because "freedom of speech" and "academic freedom" need it.

Update: Professor Griffith's open letter re this witch hunt can be found here:
Intellectual freedom – freedom to speak and write without fear of discipline and punishment – is under pressure at Duke Divinity these days. My own case illustrates this. Over the past year or so I’ve spoken and written in various public forums here, with as much clarity and energy as I can muster, about matters relevant to our life together. The matters I’ve addressed include: the vocation and purpose of our school; the importance of the intellectual virtues to our common life; the place that seeking diversity among our faculty should have in that common life; the nature of racial, ethnic, and gender identities, and whether there’s speech about certain topics forbidden to some among those identities; and the nature and purpose of theological education. I’ve reviewed these contributions, to the extent that I can (some of them are available only in memory), and I’m happy with them and stand behind them. They’re substantive; they’re trenchant; and they address matters of importance for our common life. So it seems to me. What I’ve argued in these contributions may of course be wrong; that’s a feature of the human condition.

My speech and writing about these topics has now led to two distinct (but probably causally related) disciplinary procedures against me, one instigated by Elaine Heath, our Dean, and the other instigated by Thea Portier-Young, our colleague. I give at the end of this message a bare-bones factual account of these disciplinary proceedings to date.

These disciplinary proceedings are designed not to engage and rebut the views I hold and have expressed about the matters mentioned, but rather to discipline me for having expressed them. Elaine Heath and Thea Portier-Young, when faced with disagreement, prefer discipline to argument. In doing so they act illiberally and anti-intellectually; their action shows totalitarian affinities in its preferred method, which is the veiled use of institutional power. They appeal to non- or anti-intellectual categories (‘unprofessional conduct’ in Heath’s case; ‘harassment’ in Portier-Young’s) to short-circuit disagreement. All this is shameful, and I call them out on it.

Heath and Portier-Young aren’t alone among us in showing these tendencies. The convictions that some of my colleagues hold about justice for racial, ethnic, and gender minorities have led them to attempt occupation of a place of unassailably luminous moral probity. That’s a utopia, and those who seek it place themselves outside the space of reason. Once you’ve made that move, those who disagree with you inevitably seem corrupt and dangerous, better removed than argued with, while you seem to yourself beyond criticism. What you do then is discipline your opponents. The contributions to our common life made by, inter alia, Chuck Campbell, Jay Carter, and Valerie Cooper exhibit these tendencies. I call them out too. I hope that they, together with Heath and Portier-Young, will reconsider, repent, make public apology to me and our colleagues for the damage done, and re-dedicate themselves to the life of the mind which is, because of their institutional location, their primary professional vocation. That life requires openness, transparency, and a willingness to engage. I commend all these things to them, and hope devoutly that they come to see their importance more clearly than they now do..
Yes, name the names.

Upadate2: Not a libel lawyer, but I wonder if describing a professor's email this way "The use of mass emails to express racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry is offensive and unacceptable, especially in a Christian institution" comes under libel per se?

One definition:

libel per se
n. broadcast or written publication of a false statement about another which accuses him/her of a crime, immoral acts, inability to perform his/her profession, having a loathsome disease (like syphilis) or dishonesty in business. Such claims are considered so obviously harmful that malice need not be proved to obtain a judgment for "general damages," and not just specific losses.
Perhaps a jury should decide or at least suit be brought. It really worked out well for Duke in the lacrosse players' cases, perhaps to the tune of $100 million.

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